Bra-mazing: My Epic Quest for the Perfect Running Bra Part 1

I have boobs. And curves. And I love them.

One thing I don’t love is the stinging raw skin that results after a long run: chafing. I’ve written a bit about my battle (and tentative victory) over chafing here, but I still haven’t scaled the final “summit.”

Lubed to the max, I still returned from my longest runs chafed under my bra straps, a stinging surprise as I stepped in the shower. My boyfriend started calling them my “battle scars,” but I could tell he was not too thrilled with the price I was paying on my new fitness journey.

Thus began my epic quest for the perfect running bra.

I started simply enough, narrowing the field down first to sports bras for running (read: maximum support), then bras that come in bra sizes (not S,M,L), and finally, bras that come inĀ my bra size.

My first pick was the Champion Double Dry Full Support Sports Bra. It was relatively inexpensive, looked pretty comfortable, and I’ve had good experience with Champion as far as moisture wicking. The bra did not disappoint … at first. My boobs were held in place, and the bra was pretty comfortable. But after about 8 miles (6 on a hot day), the straps started sliding around. When I got home, my back looked like a particularly mean cat had attacked my shoulder blades. The back of the band where the clasps are also rubbed against my middle back, although the damage

I tried tightening the straps, but to no avail. Either the weight of my boobs as I ran kept pulling at out the straps or they just couldn’t handle the sweat, because toward the end of my first marathon, one of the straps actually kept slipping off my shoulder. After that race, it was more about letting the skin on my back heal more than my leg muscles.

Then, while perusing the selection at a local running store, I came across the Moving Comfort Juno sports bra. ‘Ah ha!’ I thought, ‘Racer-back – that’s the answer to my prayers!’ I remembered reading somewhere that racer-back sports bras are good for bigger busts, so I grabbed my size, took a moment to appreciate the fact that the store actually had the bra in my size, and headed home for a test run.

I started off slow, just taking it out for a three-mile easy run.

Ouch!

I didn’t even need to break a sweat before the straps put giant welts on my shoulders. Again, I tried adjusting the straps (which was a little more difficult because they were Velcro), but to no avail. The seams on the inside of the straps were extremely rough and dug into my skin almost immediately. It doesn’t chafe if I tuck the collar of my shirt under the straps, but that’s just uncomfortable (although less uncomfortable than giant welts in my shoulders).

This wouldn’t be much of an epic quest if it could be summed up in one post, would it? Stay tuned for part 2!

 

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